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10 Eye-Opening Books Steve Jobs Would Have Recommended

10 Eye-Opening Books Steve Jobs Would Have Recommended

It’s been said again and again that Steve Jobs was a visionary, but it wasn’t because he focused only on growing Apple and designing the iPhone. How did he think the way he did? Surely he learned from someone.

He read books that focused on more than just technology and business. As you’ll see below, in addition to those subjects, his reading list included topics like meditation and a vegetarian diet. Most importantly, the books that Steve Jobs read shared one main characteristic: they were about an individual overcoming obstacles to transform the world. This is exactly what he did with Apple.

Here are 10 eye-opening books that influenced Steve Jobs.

1. 1984, George Orwell

1984

    Imagine what life would be like if you had no control over anything in your world. This is a story about one man’s fight against an oppressive, all-controlling state. It makes the reader contemplate aspects of society that are controlling them, and question the control they have over their own thoughts and actions.

    It’s inarguable that Steve Jobs was influenced by this book. The first advertisement which introduced the Apple Macintosh depicted the world as oppressed and dominated by IBM, and Apple was the only alternative able to disrupt the conformist status quo.

    2. The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton M. Christensen

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    innovators dilemma

      In The Innovator’s Dilemma, Christensen discusses the that idea that successful companies may fail to adopt new technology or business models that would help their customers’ future needs as a result of focusing too much on their customers’ current needs. As we work to achieve our goals or grow our businesses we have to focus on our short-term goals, but at the same time avoid getting stuck with a short-term outlook. We have to consider what our end goal is and make sure our current goals fit with that vision.

      Apple often looked past it’s current technology and continued to change its own technology. Take the iPhone for example, which has all the features of an iPod and more- making iPods obsolete.

      3. Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki

      zen mind beginners mind

        Meditation has been proven to improve mental health and reduce stress. In today’s fast-paced, hectic world, it’s important to have moments to yourself. If you’re looking to get a start in meditation, this is the go-to book. It’s a compilation of talks given by Suzuki, providing a concise introduction to Zen meditation. It also discusses the topics of selflessness and mindfulness.

        Steve Jobs often used the methods found in this book to center himself during difficult moments in his career. He was such an avid practitioner that he considered going to Japan to continue his practice, but was advised against it.

        4. Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda

        autobiography of a yogi

          This book gives us a look into the life of Paramahansa Yogananda. He shares his encounters with spiritual figures of the East and West and his journey from childhood to becoming a monk. Through sharing his experiences, he attempts to explain the spiritual laws of everyday occurrences.

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          If you’re looking to understand life in a little more depth, this book will help you develop an understanding of people from different faiths and creeds, emphasizing the idea of peace through self-realization.

          Jobs read and reread this book while he stayed at a guesthouse in the foothills of the Himalayas in India. He continued to reread it every year afterwards.

          5. Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappe

          diet for a small planet

            This was the first book that introduced a significantly different and healthier way of eating to America: being a vegetarian. This book contains simple rules in an easy-to-follow format, and recipes for anyone looking to start on a high-protein vegetarian diet. Healthy eating and dieting is a difficult goal for many of us, but with specific recipes and explanations, Lappe decreases the barriers to healthy eating.

            After reading this book, Jobs swore off meat, became a vegetarian, and began to experiment with other extreme diets.

            6. Moby Dick by Herman Melville

            moby dick

              Moby Dick tells the story of a ship captain and his efforts to get revenge on a white whale that destroyed his ship and severed his leg. The captain demonstrates lessons in persistence that we can learn from- guiding us to hopefully conquer our own white whales. Maybe you’re stuck on a problem, or finding it difficult to achieve a goal. This is a sign you have your own white whale to conquer.

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              Jobs and Apple had a white whale in the 1980s: entering a market that was already dominated by another company, IBM. Through many struggles, Jobs was able to help Apple to achieve its own share of the market. It’s safe to say that Apple has conquered many white whales since then.

              7. King Lear by William Shakespeare

              king lear

                In this tragedy, Shakespeare demonstrates how life can suddenly turn for the worse, telling the story of a king who’s betrayed by his daughters and robbed of his kingdom as he descends into madness. We can learn from the mistakes of King Lear, who betrayed those who loved him the most, was fooled by appearances, and ended up leading his country to civil war.

                Jobs told Walter Isaacson, the author of his biography, that he “loved King Lear”, which isn’t surprising.

                “King Lear offers a vivid depiction of what can go wrong if you lose your grip on your empire, a story surely fascinating to any aspiring CEO,” says Daniel Smith, author of How to Think Like Steve Jobs.

                8. Inside the Tornado, by Geoffrey A. Moore

                inside the tornado

                  New companies often face the problem of finding early adopters for new products, then determining how to reach the mainstream market. Moore provides a method of navigating inside this tornado, helping you to get your company through the turmoil that is taking a product to mass market successfully. This book is recommended for anyone looking to grow a company.

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                  The release of new products means accepting that it may take a while for the general public to adapt to things that are new. Apple has clearly developed strategies to assist them to survive their own tornadoes and get products past early adopters to the mainstream market.

                  9. Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand

                  atlas shrugged

                    What happens when billionaire CEOs drop their companies in the name of good, but end up harming the economy? Ayn Rand, hailed as one of the most profound philosophers of the 20th century, tells the story of a dystopian United States where successful CEOs abandon their fortunes and cause important industries to collapse. She provides a deep analysis of ideas like morality, egoism, and the potential destruction of altruism.

                    As the CEO of a large and highly influential company, Jobs likely contemplated his motivations and the effects of his decisions on the world.

                    10. The Tao of Programming, by Geoffrey James

                    the tao of programming

                      This book is a spoof of classic Taoist texts and explains various hacker ideals of work and programming. Through a series of short anecdotes, Geofrrey James outlines lessons about software management and design. A must-read for new project managers or project leads, Steve Jobs personally told Geoffrey James that he enjoyed this book.

                      So why not choose one of these books to kick off your summer reading- you might just change your perspective on life and business at the same time.

                      Featured photo credit: Albumarium via albumarium.com

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                      1 What Is Life About? 9 Ways to Find Your Meaning in Life 2 7 Things To Remember When You Feel Broken Inside 3 Focus On Yourself, Because Most Of The Time No One Really Cares 4 10 Principles for Success to Live Your Dream Life 5 10 Powerful Ways to Be More Confident

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                      Last Updated on August 10, 2020

                      10 Principles for Success to Live Your Dream Life

                      10 Principles for Success to Live Your Dream Life

                      Are you stressed out and overwhelmed, wishing you had more time to do the things that really matter? Are you ready to do something better, something special in your life or your career?

                      If you’re ready to do what you want in life, then the 10 principles of success are what you need to follow.

                      You were born with a gift that no one else in the world can express like you. When you dance to your own music, you naturally develop your innate abilities and excel in work and life. You are a total rock star. But when you live someone else’s idea of who you should be, it throws off your groove.

                      Many people—maybe you—stopped following their dreams way too early in life because their talents were ignored, minimized, or shamed. They didn’t have the chops to win an American Idol competition or nab an Olympic gold medal, so they stopped expressing their inborn gifts altogether.

                      You don’t need to be an award winner to rock your life. Living your dream life is about discovering your superpowers and feeling vibrant and joyful when you use them. It’s about owning what makes you unique and finding like-minded people to support you.

                      Here are 10 success principles to help you live a rich and rewarding life on your terms that have worked with thousands of people in my workshops and will work for you, too.

                      1. Get a Hobby to Move Closer to Your Dreams

                      If you never became a professional dancer or a world-renowned author, it does NOT mean you should stop dancing or writing! These activities make you come alive, even if you “only” do them as favorite pastimes.

                      Engaging in a hobby is one of the most important success principles you can follow to move closer to your dreams.

                      When you try something creative for the first time or in a long while, you begin to see opportunities at work and in life that you were unaware of before. You also feel happier and more energized, according to a recent study from New Zealand.[1]

                      Some of my most burned-out executive clients reinvigorated their careers by discovering a creative outlet that refueled them after the workday ended. Research at San Francisco State University shows that having a hobby lowers stress and helps you succeed at work.[2]

                      So, give yourself permission to try new things and revisit old passions you gave up long ago. Setting aside just one hour a week for personal exploration can significantly change your life.

                      Who knows? Your creative outlet could transform into a thriving business or lead to a new profession down the road.

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                      2. Focus on Your Strengths, Not Your Weaknesses

                      Did you know that you are more likely to succeed when you develop your natural strengths rather than work on your weaknesses? The problem is that you probably don’t know where your true talents lie.

                      Here are a few options to help you discover your unique strengths. You can:

                      • Take the VIA Character Strengths Survey[3]
                      • Try Gallup’s CliftonStrengths Assessment[4]
                      • Answer a few Superpower Questions

                      Once you understand what makes you tick, you can use these skills at work and your personal life to get more done in less time. If you boost your unique abilities through practice and study, you can accelerate your career and become a leader in a field that matters to you. It’s worth investing in yourself this way.

                      3. Jumping off a Cliff is NOT Required

                      Here’s the deal: most people are too afraid to change. When participants first come to my workshops, they tell me they have mouths to feed, bills to pay, and fear that if they follow their dreams, someone will get hurt.

                      The old saying “leap and the net shall appear” does not comfort them. Because they are hesitant to plunge into the unknown, they believe their only option is to stay put where they are in life. Can you relate?

                      You do not have to sacrifice the life you have now to start a new one. I was a psychology professor by day and singer by night for years before I transitioned into a full-time music career.

                      Just take a little time out each week to do what enlivens you through a hobby, volunteer work, etc. Get a feel for it.

                      Is it what you really want? If so, increase the time you spend doing it and make the transition when the time feels right.

                      4. Give Your Inner Critic Some Love

                      The main culprit that keeps you from stepping outside your comfort zone and getting the life of your dreams is KCRP or K-CRAP – the radio station that plays 24/7 in your head. The moment you try to do something interesting with your life it slaps you down with such chart-topping killer hooks as “Who do you think you are?” and “You’ll never be good enough!”.

                      Have you ever noticed that KCRP’s mean-spirited DJ sounds like your parents, teachers, bosses, and other authority figures who shut you down creatively? These folks don’t need to stifle you any longer (although they often still do) because your inner critic does it for them. That keeps you stuck in a rut.

                      To break free, try thinking of this DJ as a gruff old grandfather who gives you crap to keep you safe. Remember, this grumpy grandpa is woefully out of touch with the times. So, his stern opinions don’t really matter much, do they? Give him a pat on the back for his good intentions, and put your focus back on what makes you come alive.

                      This success principle will give you the courage to venture into the unknown where you can dance to the beat of your own drummer.

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                      5. Embrace Your Inner Self

                      Many of us don’t go after our dreams because we’re afraid folks will find out how odd or strange we are. But our little eccentricities often turn out to be our greatest strengths. Yes, it’s good to be quirky.

                      Odds are, you lost track of your true passions and talents before you were even old enough to know you were getting off-track. You became slowly “adulterated” by learning to:

                      • Take on family roles that don’t match who you really are.
                      • Spit back what teachers taught you in school rather than risk getting bad grades for being original.
                      • Hide parts of yourself that don’t seem acceptable to certain social groups.

                      The price for fitting in is that you may wind up leading a life that doesn’t fit you all that well. Your true calling becomes clear when you embrace what makes you different from others and allow yourself to stand out from the crowd, even if it feels awkward. Often, the very qualities you view as your flaws are your greatest gifts.

                      Here’s How to Listen to Your Inner Voice for Greater Fulfillment.

                      6. See the Bigger Picture to Find Your True Calling

                      I cannot stress the importance of this success principle enough. Your true calling is right in front of you. But you may miss it because you’re looking for it in the wrong place.

                      To “see” it clearly, try widening your point of view.

                      Case in point: Maria felt she needed to retire early from being a police detective, so she could travel abroad. I encouraged Maria to think of ways that she could continue to serve as a law enforcer (a career she loved) and travel overseas at the same time.

                      A few months later, Maria landed a job with the United Nations in Bosnia training the local police force to understand and embrace human rights procedures.

                      Like Maria, you are an everyday rock star capable of accomplishing greater things than you can imagine. Is what you’re looking for right in front of you, too? Do you have an inkling of what it may be?

                      Look beyond your day-to-day activities, your current job, and even the town you live in. View your life from an eagle’s perspective and be open to new possibilities.

                      7. Try a Little Wish-List Magic

                      Pretend I’m your fairy godmother and I give you permission right now to be your most magnificent self. What kind of life would be music to your ears? It doesn’t matter whether it seems unattainable or even downright crazy. Write it down on a wish list.

                      Get quiet. Be honest. Think big.

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                      What would you like your career, your relationships, your health, your finances, and your spiritual life to be like? Jot down enough details so that your wishes seem tangible to you. Then, look at this list every morning before you start your day and every night before you go to sleep.

                      Sounds silly? It’s not. It works! Permitting yourself to daydream about a rich and fulfilling life is the first step to manifesting it.

                      8. Take Breaks to Get Clues About Your Ideal Future

                      Did you know that working straight through to a deadline leads to diminishing returns? Research shows that taking a break for 15 minutes every 75 to 90 minutes can help you recharge, refresh your focus, and get more done in less time.[5]

                      Wait, it gets better! A Stanford study shows that walking increases your creative output increases by 60 percent. Doing repetitive activities such as walking, running, riding your bike, swimming, and sweeping allow solutions to problems to pop into your mind out of nowhere.[6]

                      What does this success principle have to do with creating your dream life?

                      These mini-breaks allow you to get vital clues for what to do next to attain your ideal future. Plus, you won’t waste precious time and energy getting lost in other people’s agendas.

                      9. Take Action on Your Inspired Ideas

                      Once an inspired thought pops into your mind, take action.

                      This is one of the most powerful success principles for turning your dreams into reality; the sooner the better. Whatever it is—from calling an old friend to taking a new route home—be sure to do it!

                      Pay attention to your oddball hunches. You need to go after what you want, not just dream about it. As comedian Jim Carrey warns,

                      “You can’t just visualize and go eat a sandwich.”

                      10. Count Your Rockstar Moments

                      Still not sure you have what it takes to get your dream life? This final success principle is guaranteed to help.

                      Make a list of everything you’ve ever accomplished. As you read back through it, put a star next to each item, and let it sink in.

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                      You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how good you’ll feel about yourself afterward. You’ll also see how effective you’ve been in the past at getting what you want. You’ve succeeded before, you can succeed again.

                      You already rock. You just need to own it. Trust me, you’ve got this!

                      Final Thoughts

                      Eleanor Roosevelt said,

                      “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

                      Following these success principles will help you find the time and energy to do the things that really matter and live with clear intention.

                      By spending just one hour a week doing something you love, focusing on your strengths and achievements, embracing what makes you different, and acting on inspired ideas, you can create a life that is a perfect fit for you, step-by-step.

                      If you don’t have a clue about what your dream life could look like yet, don’t worry. Your heart knows. It has been “talking” to you for a long time. It’s just being muffled by KCRP, buried under a lot of “shoulds” and fear.

                      This article can also help you figure out the life you truly want to live: How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up.

                      Stand still, get quiet, and listen. It’s constantly telling you what you need to do to realize your own rockstar potential. It may be just a whisper now, but the more you pay attention to it, the louder it will get, and the easier it will be to follow.

                      More About Success in Life

                      Featured photo credit: Rahul Dey via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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